Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour (Matthew 15:28, KJV)
The story of the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was possessed and afflicted in the scripture above has volumes to teach us about faith. She pressed in, despite Jesus’s initial resistance, to obtain healing for her daughter. Jesus called her faith great. What was great in this woman’s faith? She was humble and persistent, but Jesus specifically commended her faith.
What was the drive that made this woman persist despite Jesus’s apparent resistance? What was she counting on? I want you to think about this for a second. This woman firmly believed Jesus could heal her daughter and above that, she knew and believed in His goodness. Even though Jesus initially appeared to be hesitant, she could see through this superficial resistance into His heart of love, goodness, and kindness. I shared a devotional a while ago dealing with the reality that many of us find it easy to believe God can heal, bless, etc but often find it very difficult to believe that He WANTS to do these good things for us.
Another component of this great faith is more subtle and implicit in the passage. Jesus made that comment only after her verbal response, stating that dogs can eat the crumbs that fall off the Master’s table. It was this comment that provoked the response from Jesus, not just the steps of faith, persistence, and humility she has already displayed. What was revealed in her comment?— Her insight into the affairs of God, whether she was conscious of it or not. This woman displayed a remarkable insight into the mysteries of God’s eternal purpose of dealing with Jews and the Gentiles. Her faith was founded on a solid insight into God’s purposes.
Though the exact quality of her faith that Jesus called great is not explicit in the text, we at least know some of the qualities she displayed that made her faith stand tall. Humility, persistence, great assurance in the goodness, faithfulness, and ability of God as well as insight into divine plans and purposes will cause you to walk in faith that Jesus will also call great!
How many people in scripture received the commendation of “great faith” from Jesus? Cheat sheet—just two. Do you know who they are? ( see also Matt. 8:10).
APPLY THE WORD
The stories in scripture were not written to give us incredible stories of what happened merely. They were written for our learning. This woman’s story was recorded in scripture so that you can also do what she did. Learn from her and start walking in great faith.
Ask the Lord to help you grow in your walk of faith.